Tool #1: Resilience
Emotionally healthy people bounce back from adversity and stress—that’s called resilience . Such people cope with difficult situations and maintain a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible and creative during good times and difficult times.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus Christ dealt with lots of adversity and stress, yet He was able to maintain a positive outlook. That’s the ideal mindset, so “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). This will give us resilience.
One of the key resilience factors is effectively balancing stress and emotions. The capacity to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in anxiety, depression or other negative moods.
Boost your resilience by turning for encouragement and support in tough times to a strong network of trusted people—family and church members, friends, and your pastor.
Tool #2: Care for Self
Strengthening your mental and emotional health also requires paying attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up. Try to maintain a balance between daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy.
Pursue activities that naturally release endorphins and contribute to feeling good. Endorphins are released with physical exercise and when we do things that positively impact others. Serving others and focusing on helping others will help us too.
Take an education class, visit a museum, learn a new language, or simply travel somewhere new. Learn and discover new things. Think of it as an “intellectual treat.”
At my home in Nairobi, Kenya, I have discovered that caring for flowers and plants has helped me reduce stress and feel happier. So I made a little investment towards the purchase of planters and the flowers. I experience joy in looking after them, weeding and watering them on a daily basis. They give me something to get attached to and get my mind off the day to day activities of life. For other women, a trip to the salon is all they need to pick themselves up. For others, could be preparing a nice meal for your kids. The same goes for taking a walk through a park or art gallery, hiking, just sitting on a bench or relaxing at the beach. Whatever will make you happy, please do to take care of yourself.
A cared-for dad or mom makes great cared-for kids!
Tool #3: Know Yourself
Because we’re all different, not everything will be equally beneficial to all people. Some feel better relaxing and slowing down, while others need more activity, excitement and mental stimulation to feel better. Find activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost.
Whatever internal or external factors have shaped your mental and emotional health, it’s never too late to make changes that will improve your psychological well-being. Counter your risk factors with protective factors like strong relationships with God and your family and friends, a healthy lifestyle, and coping strategies for managing stress and negative emotions.
Recently, my teenage daughter and I were watching Pastor Steven Furtick’s interview of Bishop T.D Jakes. The pastor asked the Bishop what made him so successful in the projects he had handled, and he responded that he dated himself more than he dated any other person. It’s important for you to know ‘you’. What are your strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities? SWOT is an old age tool used in businesses and can be very relevant in self-evaluation.
The “wonderful Counselor” Jesus Christ wants you to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally (see Isaiah 9:6-7). The effort will bring you rich rewards!